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The Week That Will Be (11.06.2010)

Last Week: 2-4 ATS 4-2 SU
For the Year: 20-30-4 (.400) ($-1240) ATS 35-19 (.648) SU

What we learned last week:

We learned that Michigan State was indeed a paper tiger, but thanks for playing…

We learned that Cam Newton is the next Vince Young, or the next to next to next one after five other guys have been called that in the last five years…

We learned that I should have trusted my first impressions of Oregon…I’m not sure anyone beats that team…

We learned that it took a little while for the Oklahoma State offense to wake up, but they finally remembered that Kansas State has a bad defense and fed the ball to Kendall Hunter to the tune of 143 yards…

We learned that Nebraska can blast Missouri, who blasted Oklahoma, who blasted Texas, who blasted…Nebraska?

And finally, we learned that this Texas team just isn’t that good.


Mack Brown:

"I didn't see as much fun as I thought I would," he says. "We've got a little arrogance about this bunch right now. I shouldn't have said this could be the best defense we've ever had because right now we're a long way from that. I talked about the physical run game; we need to stop talking about that.

"How much do you like being at Texas and like being a football player?" Brown continues." Some of you like being at Texas more than you've earned the right to be here.

"I was embarrassed for myself. I was embarrassed for some of my coaches, not all. I was embarrassed for some of you players, not all. … It was kind of embarrassing.

"Boy, I'm scared. I'm worried about this team. I'm worried about it.

"We've got some entitlement in this room. Got to get that fixed. Got some selfishness in this room. Got to get that fixed. This isn't Texas football."

Boy Mack was really upset after that loss to Baylor last week, wasn’t he?

Nope, this passage is from the Pat Forde profile on Mack Brown written after the season opener against Rice that captured the post-game speech from Mack after the 34-17 Texas win.

But as the clock ticked down to triple zeroes and I filtered out of DKR with the rest of the orange-clad fans last Saturday, upset that I wouldn’t be getting the Pluckers Five Wings Free coupon for the third straight game, I just came to the realization that we’re just not that good.

Groundbreaking, I know.

Perhaps it was a lot of the "don’t give a damn" factor that cost us against Iowa State, perhaps even against UCLA, but Baylor was just a better team than we were.

UCLA has viable running backs that fit into their run first attack. Baylor had the better quarterback, the better running back, the better wide receiver and the better offensive line on the field on Saturday.

Do we have better talent than those teams? Probably. We had better recruiting classes, but I’m not sure there is any player on offense that is any better than he was last year, or the year before for that matter.

But even if we do have better talent, they have a better team.

And there is a difference.

The offense still hasn’t scored more than 24 points since the mid-September win over Wyoming, and the defense has given up at least 28 points in every loss this season. For an offense that is struggling, the defense is not picking up the slack, instead choosing to give up back breaking plays at the wrong times (first drive of the second half against UCLA, falling down 14-0 to Oklahoma, giving up two touchdowns in five minutes to Iowa State bridging the third and fourth quarters and finally, allowing Baylor three touchdowns in the final 20 minutes of the game on Saturday).

Now a program that ten months ago was in the national title game is struggling to become bowl eligible, with a fourth-tier bowl the prize even if they do attain that goal.

Hell I’d just settle for some Pluckers coupons at this point.

But enough about that, let’s take a look at some teams that are doing well. As we are nearing the end of the regular season, it is time to see where teams might end up in the post-season, with HornMafia’s Bowl Predictions.

The Worst Idea Associated With the Texas Program Bowl: University Co-op Statues vs. Zombie Nation

Look. The statues (go here if you have no idea what I’m talking about) are awful, and makes our team look like they’re scared shitless (insert punchline here) but they were probably just an ill-conceived idea by someone who wanted to shave a little money off the budget.

But the decision to play Zombie Nation before kick-offs was a deliberate decision by someone that said, "Hey you know that drum cadence that the band does, and then a lot of the crowd starts jumping up and down? Nah, screw that, we’re going ZOMBIE NATION baby!"

We’re not Wisconsin, where we have no tradition thus we can play crappy techno music, everyone waves their glow sticks, downs a little Red Bull and nobody cares. Darrell K. Royal walked these sidelines, he doesn’t want to hear ZOMBIE NATION when he attends games. Just ask yourself if Darrell would like it and move on.

The Bad First Year Coaching Job Bowl: Kansas vs. Notre Dame

Say what you want about Turner Gill and his team’s 2-6 record and the fact that they haven’t scored more than 16 points in five weeks and the fact that the 28 given up to Iowa State last weekend was an improvement over the 159 points his team gave up in the previous three games, but at least his actions didn’t lead to a poor kid’s death.

Just saying.

The I Can Always Get A Job At McDonald’s Bowl: Jerrod Johnson vs. Jake Locker

Jerrod Johnson was supposedly the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year coming into the season and has been benched in favor of a wide receiver, while Jake Locker was a lock to be the first overall pick in the draft and now has to fake an injury so he doesn’t plummet out of the first day.
Perhaps guys should have to, I don’t know, earn these titles before they greatness is bestowed upon them?

The We Have To Think About This The Rest Of Our Lives Bowl: Nebraska Fans vs. Themselves

20-13. Just think about that mild October day if you guys end up going undefeated the rest of the way, because there isn’t any way in hell that any pollster will elevate a Nebraska team that lost to 6-6 Texas or whatever the Longhorns end up at.

Just think about it on the way out the door, Nebraska.

The Elevated Idea Of Your Program Bowl: Minnesota v. Minnesota

When Tim Brewster was fired earlier this year, I think we all thought, "okay, they’ll get some coordinator from a BCS school and move on", but nope, here are the three names that Minnesota has targeted:

Chris Petersen. Jim Harbaugh. Gary Patterson.

Someone kindly remind Minnesota that they haven’t been a national power since the pre-Hitler days, and that their last outright Big 10 title came in
1941 shortly before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Thanks.

The We’ve Never Been Here Before Bowl: Robert Griffin III vs. Outlandish Statements

Okay I know this is uncharted territory for Baylor, but Robert. C’mon.

"A lot of people want to talk about teams of destiny. I think this is one of them."

Teams of "destiny" have shots at the national title. They don’t lose games by 35 points to other contenders. Team of "destiny" don’t drop games to 4-4 squads in mid-season.

You’re having a very nice season, hell even a great season. But destiny? Leave that for strip club DJs to announce.

The Dallas Football Classic Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Illinois

The Aggies finally return to the Cotton Bowl, although it isn’t the Cotton Bowl anymore. But that won’t stop their webmaster from calling it the Cotton Bowl until conference rivals point out their error.

The Pinstripe Bowl: Texas vs. Syracuse

The Pinstripe Bowl officials never dreamed of landing Texas in their bowl game, but they could have dreamed about the 25 degree temperatures at kick-off. Justin Tucker knocks one off the monuments to win as time expires and Texas avenges the 1993 tie and 1992 loss to Syracuse…but not the 2003 Final Four, because that would be just silly.

The Texas Bowl: Kansas State vs. Northwestern

Purple purple purple.

The Holiday Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Oregon State

Oklahoma State tries to halt a two game bowl losing streak, while Oregon State looks happy to see the Oklahoma State defense after facing those tough Pac-10 defenses all season.

The Insight Bowl: Baylor vs. Iowa

It is high powered offense vs. high powered defense, and we all lose because it’s freaking Baylor vs. Iowa playing in the Insight Bowl.

The Alamo Bowl: Missouri vs. Arizona

Nick Foles returns to Central Texas…and I can’t think of much else too compelling about this match-up.

The Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Arkansas

We have a rematch of that thrilling 10-3 Oklahoma win in the 2002 Cotton Bowl "Classic", but it is okay because we have effectively quarantined all
Sooner and Razorback fans for a weekend away from the rest of us.

The Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska vs. Pittsburgh

Nebraska might win the last Big 12 title, but the joke is on them as they have to play Pittsburgh in a game that people in Pittsburgh won’t even watch…and then to top it all off Bo Pelini gets out-coached by Dave Wannstedt. Okay not really.

The BCS Championship Game: Alabama vs. Oregon

The non-BCS schools bitch, but it is great uniforms versus bad uniforms, old versus new in a horribly named stadium. The BCS powers that be pit Boise State and TCU against each other to see if they have the power to crash the Internet.

On to the games...

Alabama -6.5 @ LSU:

Alabama gave up 35 points to South Carolina three games ago, but in the other games they have given up 75 points combined. I have a hard time seeing LSU scoring enough to win here, but do expect a tight, hard fought defensive battle.

Alabama 20 LSU 14
SU – Alabama

Arizona @ Stanford -9.5:

Arizona won this one 43-38 last year in Tucson, but Stanford is a better team than they were at this point last year. The Wildcat defense is stout, only giving up 286 yards and 14 points per game.

I look for Arizona to keep it tight here, but Andrew Luck is a machine.

Stanford 34 Arizona 27
ATS – Arizona
SU – Stanford

TCU -4.5 @ Utah:

Ah yes, a battle of #4 and #6 in the country, and about 99% of the country isn’t going to get it on TV. Gotta love these small conferences.

Despite the lack of TV coverage, this should be a great game, as TCU brings the country’s #1 scoring defense and #9 scoring offense, while Utah brings the country’s #6 scoring defense and #3 scoring offense.

I can certainly see Utah coming out and putting everything together here, but I think TCU seems to be on a mission this year (they haven’t given up more than 7 points since a 41-24 win over SMU on September 24th.

TCU keeps their national title hopes alive.

TCU 27 Utah 14

Baylor @ Oklahoma State -7.5:

The question here is can Baylor get up for this game a week after knocking off Texas in Austin? Oklahoma State will be ready, especially getting Justin Blackmon back from his one game suspension.

Baylor has yet to win in Stillwater in Big 12 play, with their last trip up there a 34-6 loss in 2008.

Look for OSU to take care of things in their building.

Oklahoma State 41 Baylor 31
ATS – Oklahoma State
SU – Oklahoma State

Oklahoma -3.5 @ Texas A&M:

With the exception of the 2008 game, the Sooners have had trouble in College Station, not too much trouble, mind you, since they are 4-1 there, but the other three wins were by a margin of 7 points or less.

And of course we all know by now Oklahoma’s troubles away from home, racking up a 22-18 record on the road compared to a 35-1 record at home since 2005.

Mike Sherman made the switch to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback and it has paid dividends, as Tannehill has thrown for 629 yards and has 7 touchdowns (half of Jerrod Johnson’s total) to only 1 interception (to Johnson’s 9).

All of that, combined with Oklahoma’s troubles on defense this year, and I think that Oklahoma goes down again.

Texas A&M 34 Oklahoma 30
ATS – Texas A&M
SU – Texas A&M

Texas -3.5 @ Kansas State:

We all know the Longhorns’ troubles against Kansas State. With half of the fanbase on depression medication I’m not going to rehash any of that…except for 2002.

That was another beleaguered offense, statistically the second worst in the Mack Brown era to this one, and they also had to travel up to Manhattan, Kansas…and we’re also 3.5 point favorites.

It wasn’t a pretty victory, as Chris Simms only threw for 184 yards and the Longhorns ran for 46 yards on 32 carries. BJ Johnson was the lone bright spot on offense, as he brought in 4 catches for 132 yards and a touchdown.

On defense, the Longhorns held Darren Sproles to 136 yards on 20 carries, while Ell Roberson also ran for 76 while throwing for 102.

The Longhorns won that game when Marcus Tubbs blocked a 36 yard field goal attempt, and while I certainly hope it doesn’t come down to anything that dramatic, this is the type of game that Texas is going to have to play to win this game.

Daniel Thomas is the real deal, and for a defense that has had trouble with bottling up running backs this season, he’s the best we’ve seen, averaging 124.5 yards per game and 5.08 a carry. Kansas State doesn’t have much of a passing game (89th in the country) and doesn’t really run the ball with anyone else (William Powell is their second leading rusher at 27.5 yards per game) and don’t have a receiving threat (Aubrey Quarles is their best at 95th in the country with 4.12 receptions a game), so Thomas is literally their offense.

In their five wins, Thomas is averaging 147 yards per game, in their losses, he’s averaging 94.67 yards.

Stop him and you win.

So, theoretically, if our defense is as good as everyone keeps reassuring us it is, it shouldn’t be a problem to stop one guy, right?

As for the offense, if you can’t move the ball against Kansas State you have problems. Gone are the days of that feared KSU defense, as they rank dead last in FBS in rushing defense, giving up 228.5 yards per game.

They gave up 213 last week to Oklahoma State, 279 the week before against Baylor, 103 to Kansas, 451 to Nebraska, 252 to UCF…you get the point.

Against the pass they’re better, but still not great, ranking 85th in the country in sacks and 58th in pass defense.

If there is ever a time for this offense to show some signs of life, this is it.

We’ll see.

One thing you do have to watch out for, if you are able to score, is that William Powell is first in the country in kickoff returns, averaging 33.2 yards per return.

I’d like to say that Texas is Texas and comes out here and wipes the floor with a less talented opponent, but the fact that we’re not very good up there, and the fact that we’re not a very good football ourselves, I’m skeptical.

But the superior talent can’t be kept down too long….right? Right? *crickets chirping*

Texas 20 Kansas State 17
ATS – Kansas State
SU – Texas

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for Pinstripe Bowl tickets.